Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Formulas are the verbal building blocks of ancient Greek poetry.  They are most conspicuous in dactylic hexameter epic verse, where they appear as standardized phrases that are ‘stitched’ together – to use an ancient metaphor – by epic poets to describe the typical characters and objects and to narrate the typical actions of heroic epic: ‘rosy-fingered Dawn’; ‘dark-prowed ships’; ‘he fell with a thud and his armor rattled about him’.  Research on the essential nature of the formula was the key to determining that Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey…

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Steve Reece, “Formulas”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_COM_00000137>
First published online: 2013

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